IDEA9106 Design Thinking

Design is a state of mind



Week 4 – Affinity Diagram

How did this exercise help you build empathy with prospective users?

Personally, I do not believe that the exercise in any way allowed me to empathize with my client. Reading already formulated questions and answers, merely enabled me to assess the data provided impartially, and gain insight to the facts of the interview, rather than the experiences. I was questioned by one of the class helpers as to why I had already finished writing my yellow post-it notes and I said because I read the interview, and I have listed all the key points that I feel are needed to create a accurate representation of my client. I also felt that the time constraints of me being able to read the document, contributed to what I deemed as important information to the exercise, and could have benefited marginally from actually conducting the interview myself in an hour time slot.

How did this clustering of information help you understand user needs?

I do not think that clustering the information on the wall was effective for my group, purely because the task explanation was not clear from the get go. When i asked the tutor to clarify the task, he said that we needed to cluster information on the wall under categories, than title them, so that is what our group did. This ultimately, did not achieved any greater understanding that what we already knew about our clients.

What was difficult or challenging with the technique? How would you do it better next time?

The technique of creating an Affinity diagram is great and would most likely be affective if done correctly. I now understand that the clustering of items on the wall should be according to user needs, not just categorizing them.

I think the time constraints were a big issue for this task. For example, we made the diagram, what next? There was no time in class for a follow up.

Week 3 – Personas

Describe your experience of creating a single persona from different users’ perspectives gathered in the interview data. Was there enough commonality between the 4 people interviewed to form a coherent persona? or would it have made more sense to create a second different persona?

When creating our persona with Alex and Chris international students, and myself, a local student, we decided to pick the scenario of using puplic transport, and I felt that my colleuges would differ in their oppinions from my own. it was evident that the most  common Issues; cost and availability of buses, were  experienced by all of us at some period of using a transport network.

I believe that in our group there was enough commonality to be able to create a coherent average persona. Based on the findings (group of 3), it was evident that most users of the Sydney Public Transport system have similar likes an dislikes.

However, in the experience of a real situation, I think that the interviewing process, and questions that are asked, would be different to the ones provided, to get a more coherent insight. Also, the fact that we are all students, generally in the same boat, will tend to skew the data we collected, as it did.

Do you think your final person was successful in generating empathy with users? what would you change to make it better?

Yes, empathy of the user was represented as we all imagined ourselves in this particular situation.  Sharing with alternate groups gave us feedback to be able to make some adjustments in order to successfully represent the demographic.

Week 2 Reflection – Designing a Chair for Grandpa Simpson

1) How did working through different materials help you to explore and express potential solutions to a design problem?

working with different materials allowed me to visualise different ways to achieve the same/similar outcome using different mediums. My idea was to custom make the chair for grandpa and theoretically, using real world alternatives to the products I had in class would have allowed me to do this.  I created a cylinder out of cardboard as a representation for a tree trunk that could be custom carved. I Pretended that the tooth picks were steel tubes that when placed together close enough could behave like a single, totally manipulatable material, and lastly, the pipe cleaners were men to behave like a steel that had been super heated and form fitted to grandpas body.

2) What kinds of information and inspiration did the different materials give you? Did you have a favourite material?

Creating Grandpa’s chair out of cardboard was my favourite because I was able to manipulate the material better to mimic the outcome of the final chair that I wanted to create. I treated the cardboard as one solid tree trunk and i imagined that I had personally sculpted a chair for grandpa out of one solid piece of wood. I think using some solid timber would entice the buyer to purchase this product as it will incorporate great chair design (based on ergonomics and personal comfort and also brings an environmental aesthetic to the product.

3) What did you change along the way? What did you learn from your prototypes?

During prototyping I realised that using the pipe cleaners could potentially be as affective as the solid timber structure as the material is more malleable than wood. Using the pipe cleaners i was able to manipulate the chair around my ‘client’ in real time technically, therefore able to easily adjust the dimensions for Grandpa before the final build would be constructed. One limitation to using this product or a similar industry equivalent is that over time the material would create a memory elasticity and could potentially be detrimental to the longevity of the product.

4) How well did you address your user needs in the various design models you created?

The design brief stated that Grandpa was not as mobile as he used to be, and i would have liked to develop a way to make my chair moveable. I also believe that for this particular situation, interviewing Grandpa and getting to know him personally could aid the creation of a product like this because I want to make it personally for him, allowing him to have maximum comfort and create a product that he feels is just right for him.


Week 1 – Redesign Gift Giving

  1. How did engaging with a real person, testing with a real person, change the direction your prototype took?

I believe that working on a one to one level with my partner Alex, I was able to clearly identify the ‘need’ he came to me with. This need could then be altered in the planning stages fairly early as he was able to tell me and specify to me whether or not my prototype was meeting his expectations. Having this input from the start I believe is crucial as it did aid in the formation of the end product for the user as it allows the user to have direct input in the design of the product.

  1. What was it like showing unfinished work to another person?

Showing Alex my unfinished work was a little daunting at first but I became comfortable with using the opportunity to engage with the end user throughout the design process. I was able to explain my exact ideas as they had come from my head onto paper and did not have to ‘tidy’ up any drafts or scrawls as I worked through my explanations with Alex. I believe it was mutually beneficial as Alex was able to see the designs from my perspective and assess the positives and negatives based on decisions I made with justifications that I had made clear to him.

  1. As a User, how did you interact with your partner’s level of lowly-resolved prototype; how did the level of resolution impact your experience as a user?

Seeing my partners design physically presented was good as it allowed me as a client to work with the dev. and provide him feedback as it was to be a product that was going to revolutionize gift giving for me, personally. I was able to ‘use’ the product in my hand and understand how it worked.

  1. Design thinking is an iterative, self-directed process. Based on what you learned, what would you go back and do next? What would you do over again?

I think I would have developed a better prototype system. I was essentially developing an app for use with scan enabled barcodes I think that a hierarchy system of screens was needed in order to clearly explain just how the timeline of events when using the app would work.

  1. What principle, what tool would you infuse into the work tomorrow?

Research. I would assess the user’s needs and look at alternatives on the market and assess what they do better or worse than my prototypes. I would borrow ideas and expand upon then in order to better tailor my product for my client.

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